The S.T.O.P. Game!




Sing a Song (it’ll make your day)

In my many years of experience entertaining, I’ve learned two things:

1) Singing, trivia and prizes always ignite the party.

2) The best way to get people game to sing is to make singing a game.

And so I created The STOP Game to combine all those elements into one fun activity that brings everyone together into one circle, having fun (smart phones not invited)!


YPTU Clip Art Stop SignSinging + Trivia + Opening Prizes = STOP

The game brings everyone together in one room, so it:

STOPs separate circles, and even better,

It STARTs the bonding and fun!  

This game is terrific for a multi-generational family gathering at home, a night with friends of the same age group, or in a large group setting outside the house.




The details on how to play the game are on the next page, “How to’s”.   For now, let’s look at a little history on the game.

When my extended family, all age groups, played it the first time on Christmas night several years ago, there was hesitation from the start.  They were tired and just wanted to sit, even watch TV.

Still, I forged ahead, remembering the example my very dear French-Canadian grandmother, Mary Evelyn Gallant, set for me.

A self-taught pianist from a large farm family hailing from Prince Edward Island, she’d gather us all around her shiny black piano (above).

We’d cram into her small living room, and she’d lead us in sing-alongs, including Christmas carols at Christmas time.   Young to old, we sang together and loved every second of it. It was exciting, bonding family time and I wanted it back!


Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.

–Robert Louis Stevenson

Mom's 75th, party at Nana's 1960's

The Gallant Family is gathered for a sing-along in the 1960s in my grandmother’s living room. Mary Evelyn (aka Nana) peeks out in the center, to the left of my uncle’s right shoulder. No little kids at this one, but lots of happy faces!



(I’ve Got to Have) Faith

At our home on Christmas night, it didn’t seem quite as easy as it always was for my grandmother at her piano.   It started off as a slower than slow ride.

I even caught a poker face or two or three.

I still forged on.  Finally….by about the fifth challenge my nephew, then 14, exclaimed, “Whoever invented this game is a genius!”



I’m a Survivor

Phew.  A tough crowd, but it worked.   From then on, smooth sailing.

My older brother, who had made it quite clear that he didn’t want to play any games and was not about to sing, was even singing.

When the game was over, they were all planning when we could play the game again!



That’s the Way God Planned It

My parents sat among their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren – all bonded together, not scattered throughout the house per usual.  They were thrilled.

Now the STOP Game — or one of the other games on this site — is our Christmas night tradition, as well as at our many other gatherings throughout the year.

LeeAnn and Jill, now in their twenties, were recently telling me how being in the living room on Christmas night, singing and surrounded by family, is their favorite part of their favorite holiday.

Now I know for sure…..grandmother knows best.


Three generations on Christmas night.    From left, me, my Mom, and my daughters, LeeAnn and Jill.


In My









Family.  Like branches on a tree,

 we grow in different directions; yet our roots remain as one.




United We Stand (Divided We Fall)

STOP — or any activity that brings people together through song and trivia — is also a great ice-breaker.   We’ve played it with new girlfriends and boyfriends in the family….and before you know it, they’re right into it with us.

Know of someone who spends a lot of time alone? Reach out and invite him or her to your gathering and play The STOP Game (or some other game like it). Create your own!

Either way, they’ll love you for it.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThe details on how to play the game are in the next page, “How-to’s”, if you want to give it a try.

(Click on “STOP How To’s” button at bottom of this page.)

Later in Helpful Hints, I even provide a “Take It Easy” method to play the game using your TRIVIAL PURSUIT CARDS (see left) or cards from any other trivia game.  Sort of like a “Tuned-Up Trivial Pursuit” … so stayed tuned!


Next: STOP How To’s

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